First published here on Mariano’s Scifoo14 blog

Take an apple grown near The Hague (the city housing the International Court of Justice) and spray onto its surface synthetic DNA encoding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Then eat the contaminated fruit.

Charlotte Jarvis eating the forbidden apple. Photos by John East.

The stunning project “Blighted by Kenning” has been led in 2012 by Charlotte Jarvis in collaboration with the Netherlands Proteomics Centre. I have met Charlotte at Science Foo Camp 2014 in Mountain View during dinner and the day after I have attended her session dedicated to the relationship between Art & Science.

The forbidden fruit. Photo by John East.

The best way to write a review about such a surprising performance is to take it a step farther. Inspired by her work, I have created a DNA encoder, an interactive tool encoding the message you want:

CLICK HERE to access my DNA encoder

Use it trying to figure out how to astonish your partner with a contaminated candy, encoding a love poem.

During the Science Foo Camp 2014 Charlotte has presented her new project “Music Of The Spheres”. Nick Goldman has developed a bioinformatics technology encoding a musical recording into synthetic DNA. The composer Mira Calix has written a piece of music that has been translated in a sequence of nucleotide units and suspended in soap solution. During the Scifoo session, Charlotte has distributed it in the form of bubble bottles and invited us to blow musical bubbles all together – in a memorable collective ritual.

Charlotte’s bubble bottle I proudly own.

As Charlotte explains in the website of the project:

The recording will be preserved in the DNA only no other complete version will exist. In order to listen to the complete recording you will need to sequence the DNA – making the music somewhat unaccessible at present. However, as sequencing technologies become more accessible so will the unique piece of music, mirroring the way it is hoped advances in sequencing will unlock the secrets of genomes in the future.

BY-NC-SA 4.0 • Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International